What are the Different Types of Continuing Education Requirements?

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  • Written By: Cynde Gregory
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 13 July 2019
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Each of the types of continuing education has its own set of requirements. Whether the requirements pertain to professional qualification and advancement, healthcare or the wide range of personal improvement classes, each program has a set of goals that must be met in order for the program to be considered successful. Such requirements might include passing an exam, demonstrating competency in a particular area or attending courses for a certain number of classroom hours. The achievement of some of these requirements is acknowledged with certificates, diplomas or even degrees. In other cases, no document is awarded.

Perhaps the most common kind of continuing education is designed to further professional training, skills and experience, either through in-depth study of a research area, exploration of new technology or training in new methods. For the most part, these programs result in a certificate or license renewal. This means that the continuing education requirements might be more rigorous than with some types of programs.


Many professional skills programs are required by a company or a government agency. They can take up to a year of study and require that candidates successfully pass examinations that cover the material, demonstrate competency in the lab or before a board of instructors or a combination of these. Successful passage results in additional certification of an advanced degree. Failure to fulfill the continuing education requirements in the field of professional training can result in a failure to advance, a requirement of remediation coursework or even the loss of a license or registration.

Although many types of businesses require ongoing continuing education requirements, some businesspeople pursue continuing education as a way to keep abreast of the newest concepts, techniques and approaches on their own. For some, this furthers an overall plan of professional advancement. Others are driven simply by the desire to do the best possible job in the field. Real estate professionals; administrators; hardware, software and technology professionals; organizational experts; and other professional fields often offer seminars, workshops or accredited continuing education courses for their employees. In these cases, continuing education requirements might not be as stringent.

Another important area in continuing education is healthcare. Ongoing education to educate medical workers about new methods, technologies, knowledge and strategies is essential because of the rapid growth in the field. Continuing education requirements might be determined by the employer, by a regional or governmental agency or in order to keep a certificate, registration or license active.

A particular number of continuing education unit (CEU) courses offered by hospitals, unions and other associated groups might be required. Many employees choose to pursue continuing education through workshops, seminars, lectures and other presentations, even when it isn’t required. Although some instruction results in a certificate after certain requirements are fulfilled, others are seen as ways to further one’s professional growth in order to advance or to work at the top of the field.

A third popular area of continuing education is found in the area of personal growth. Although some programs offer graduates a certificate as proof of completion of continuing studies work, the certificate holds no other value, because it is not associated with an accrediting body. These seminars, workshops, classes, camps and other venues encourage students to pursue artistic, musical, academic, social or other areas simply for the pure pleasure of enhancing and enriching their lives. Strictly speaking, this type of lifelong learning rarely contains continuing education requirements. Nonetheless, lifelong learning continuing education classes, workshops, lectures, seminars, clubs, discussions and programs are an important part of the continuing education field.



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